Attorney-General George Brandis does not share his prime minister’s absolute confidence in the High Court ruling to save the political career of Barnaby Joyce.
Malcolm Turnbull told parliament yesterday the deputy prime minister was qualified to sit in the House of Representatives and “the High Court will so hold”.
Senator Brandis was not nearly as confident.
“You can never be absolutely certain of outcomes in the High Court,” he said today, noting none of the seven judges on the Bench sat on earlier cases that considered section 44 of the constitution.
Labor has accused the prime minister of trying to influence the judges and ignore the separation of powers that exists between government and the courts.
“These were the comments of an arrogant prime minister who came perilously close to directing the High Court,” shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said.
Brandis denied Turnbull was telling the court what to rule.
“It is not a directive at all,” he said.
Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne also played down Turnbull’s prediction of a favourable ruling, saying the government was “pretty confident” based on legal advice from the solicitor-general.
The court is being asked to decide whether Joyce, who was born in Australia to the father of a New Zealand citizen, holds dual citizenship. AAP